Dad-of-four Brandon Foreman, 27, of Fellgate Avenue, Jarrow, told the worker, “This is not how it’s going to go” when asked for payment.
The employee, manager at Sainsbury’s in Binchester Street, Simonside, handed over the goods – and pressed a panic alarm, a court heard.
Foreman was arrested soon after the Wednesday, December 29, incident which his own solicitor admitted was “doomed to failure”.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester said the manager was alerted to a man who entered the store with a stick.
She added: “The man placed a box of lager on the check out. He told the man, ‘This is not how it’s going to go’, while holding the stick in his hand.
“He told him to give him 20 king size cigarettes to which the manager obliged while pressing the panic button.
“The manager identified the defendant, as he had been a regular at the store for two years.”
Port of Tyne operative and part-time window cleaner Foreman pleaded guilty to charges of theft from a shop and causing harassment, alarm or distress.
The court heard he has convictions for dishonesty from 2009 and 2013.
Charlton Carr, defending, told magistrates in South Tyneside: “He took Valium, and he doesn’t have any memory about this offence but accepts what the witness and the crown say.
“This was doomed to failure because the occupant of the shop knew him. This offence was devoid of planning.
“It’s purely an incident that was spontaneous. He now has a very good job at the Port of Tyne as a crane or digger operator.”
Magistrates fined Foreman £750, with £85 court costs and a £75 victim surcharge, and ordered him to pay Sainsbury’s £20 compensation.